DETAILS of the strides made by Staffin Community Trust in the last year were outlined at the organisation's first online AGM, earlier this week.

Information and a full update was provided to attendees on SCT's housing, health and housing development, the Slipway project, Skye Ecomuseum (Druim nan Linntean) and the Crofters' Memorial.

That full summary can be read here: 2020 SCT AGM Project Summary

It was a challenging year for our community because of COVID-19, and we are going to be impacted for some time yet. SCT is hopeful our local businesses will be able to get back to some semblance of normality in 2021, prior to the pandemic, and backs the efforts by groups like the Staffin Helpers and Staffin Community Council to support our elderly and vulnerable.

The community projects were affected like everything else, however the board was delighted to see the housing project at Stenscholl become fully funded in July and a start subsequently made on site in August by the contractor, James MacQueen Builders.

A snowy scene at the housing site in Stenscholl.

Druim nan Linntean had its wide ranging activities programme largely wiped out in 2020 but has still managed to deliver some quality work including a major archaeological report on Staffin, in partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands, which is more than 100 pages long. Thanks to UHI's Hannah Genders Boyd and Dan Lee for their work on this. A new educational resource for Gaelic medium school pupils not just in Staffin but across Skye and Scotland has also been created.

SCT is also eagerly looking forward to progressing the redevelopment of Staffin Slipway, in close consultation with the community. A steering group made up of local users have been working hard over the last six months to develop a site plan to improve the pier area for everybody.

Staffin Slip.

The new breakwater will create a sheltered haven that can be used by local and visiting boats. The new Slipway will be longer and wider allowing fishing boats, workboats and pleasure boats to operate during any state of tide, and make it much safer for vans, lorries and towing vehicles to get up and down it.

The pontoons will provide local boats with safe berths that can be used 12 months of the year, and opportunities for visiting leisure craft to tie up for the night.

The pontoons will also make it easy for new boat trip businesses to be established giving visitors the opportunity to discover the stunning coastline and abundant wildlife of the area.

Onshore, separating the commercial harbour from the general public will make life much easier for everyone, and provide opportunities for new businesses to be established to service both the commercial and tourist sectors.

When the development is complete it will be managed by the creation of a part-time Harbourmaster’s job and the prospect of additional employment opportunities. It will secure the future of the local fishing fleet and the fish farm operation as well as providing a range of opportunities for new businesses from boat trips to winter storage, boat maintenance and repair, outdoor activities, and many more.

The income from berthing fees and rent of buildings will make the harbour self-sustaining and support other community projects.

The development will put an end to the free-for-all motorhome car park/campsite at the Slipway that has become such a blight in recent years, providing instead a place that is easily managed so that it can be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

The design of the new facilities will be sympathetic to the landscape and will have no impact on the dinosaur footprints which will continue to be protected by law during, and after the proposed works.

The steering group will be seeking the views of the community on this Site plan, click here: JG4710 General Arrangement Plan1024 1

And SCT is also now looking to finally deliver the Staffin Crofters' Memorial project, some 30 years after it was suggested at the very first meeting of the organisation. It will ensure the effort and sacrifices of our forefathers will be commemorated through a permanent structure in Staffin.

New Druim nan Linntean panel at An Corran.

At the AGM, SCT's board was bolstered with Martin Farquhar, Angus Ross and Donald MacDonald joining as directors.

SCT would like to thank all our project funders and various partners, including the Communities Housing Trust, Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association and Rabbie's Tours, for their support over the last 12 months. Special mention to Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the National Heritage Lottery Fund for their continued grant backing and guidance. SCT is also grateful to our elected representatives including Skye councillors John Gordon, John Finlayson and Calum Munro, MSP Kate Forbes and MP Ian Blackford for their help.

The board hopes that this coming year, despite the challenges faced, can be a fruitful one for our community and its people.